These Cuban Sandwich Empanadas are a creative twist on empanadas filled with the flavors of a classic Cuban sandwich! These flaky baked empanadas will be a hit at your next get-together.
These Cuban Sandwich Empanadas are perfect for game night or really any gathering with friends or family. They feature elements inspired by the classic Cubano, but in an adorable hand-held empanada package.
Although the roast pork filling isn't super authentic Cuban, I like that the pork is essentially slow-roasted/braised in a mustardy concoction, which steeps that necessary mustard flavor from a traditional Cuban sandwich straight into the pork without having to add extra mustard to the empanada.
I did end up with a lot of extra sauce even after shredding my pork and tossing it around in the sauce to moisten it, so I used a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the sauce before assembling so I wouldn't end up with soggy empanada filling.
In addition to the slow-roasted pork, the classic additions of sliced ham, Swiss cheese, and pickles are perfection.
I actually cut down the amount of cheese. The original recipe called for 16 slices Swiss cheese (2 per empanada) but Swiss cheese slices can be pretty large especially if you get them at the deli, so I actually used only 8 slices, each of which I cut in half and placed one half on the bottom and one on top of the filling.
I had baby dill pickles and not regular pickles, so I sliced some of those up and used an extra slice per empanada since they are smaller.
Also, please note that although the original recipe states it yields 8 small empanadas, I would use the term large to refer to these bad boys. Each Cuban sandwich empanada is about 5 inches across. Not small and easily shareable.
The flavor is huge. Although I baked and didn't fry, the buttery crust was flaky and delicious, while the piping hot filling was the perfect balance of smokiness from the ham, gooeyness from the cheese, juiciness from the mustardy pork, with acidity from the pickles.
Everyone who tried one said it was awesome, and I can't help but agree! These Cuban sandwich empanadas will make it onto a future game day menu again regardless of the sport or activity.
Other recipes you may like
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Argentinian Beef Empanadas Tucumanas (Hand-Cut Beef, Egg, and Green Onion Empanadas)
- Ham and Cheese Empanadas
- Schinkengipfeli (Swiss Ham Croissants)
- Sweet Potato Black Bean Empanadas
- Venezuelan Black Bean and Cheese “Domino” Empanadas
- Pastelitos de Queso y Guayaba (Guava and Cheese Pastries)
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Cuban Sandwich Empanadas
Roast Pork Filling:
- ¾ pound (340 grams) boneless country-style pork ribs
- ¼ cup (60 ml) red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup (44 grams) mustard
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ¾ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (112 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) water
- 16 pickle slices
- 8 Swiss cheese slices
- 8 ham slices
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
- Make the roast pork filling: Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C).
- Chop the pork into 1-inch cubes. Toss in the vinegar, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Place in an oven-safe frying pan or small baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 2 ½ hours, stirring once halfway through the cooking time. Remove from the oven and shred the pork with the cooking liquid. If there is a lot of excess cooking liquid, use a slotted spoon to remove the pork from the excess sauce before using it in the empanadas.
- Make the dough: Mix the flour and butter in a bowl. With your fingers, work the butter into the flour until it creates small crumbs. Then beat the egg into the water and pour the water/egg mixture into the flour and mix with a fork. Once it comes together, begin kneading with your hands until the dough is smooth, but not too long because you don’t want to soften the butter too much. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.
- Stuff it!: Roll out the empanada dough into 8 thin rounds. Place half a slice of Swiss cheese followed by a slice of ham, one-eighth of the pork filling, 2 pickle slices, and another half a slice of Swiss cheese onto each round, placing them off to one side. Fold the round over and seal by lightly wetting the edge with your finger. Fold the edge of the dough over itself repeatedly from one end to the other to form the traditional empanada look.
- Cook it: You can bake or fry these empanadas. To fry, heat vegetable oil in a Dutch oven to 350°F (180°C). Gently drop in your empanada and let it cook until browned, about 2 minutes. If you want to bake it, set the oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, placing the empanadas on top. Beat the egg with the water and brush it evenly over the tops of the empanadas. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.
*All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary with brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes and more.*